Skyrim begins 200 years after the events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and takes place in the Nordic homeland of Skyrim.
The Dragon Attack
The player is a prisoner awaiting execution in Helgen, a small village in the Nordic province of Skyrim. Moments before he is beheaded, however, a dragon, the first to be seen for centuries, flies overhead and, in the panic, the player manages to escape and make his way to Riverwood, where he is directed to the city of Whiterun.
The Jarl of Whiterun agrees to send help to Riverwood, but asks a favour in return: that the player find a Dragonstone in Bleak Falls Barrow. He does so, and finds a Word of Power written on the wall. The player returns, just as the news is arriving that a dragon is attacking a nearby watchtower.
The player manages to slay the dragon, and absorbs its soul. He realises that he is the Dragonborn, a legendary hero who can speak the dragon tongue and absorb dragon souls. This soul enables him to use his first shout, Unrelenting Force (called by the words “Fus Ro Dah”).
The Dragonborn is directed to the Greybeards, a race of monks who live in isolation on the mountain High Hrothgar. Seeing his power, they give him training and teach him new words of power. He is told to find the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller, but discovers that it has already been stolen by Delphine, an innkeeper and one of the only surviving members of the Blades, an elite group of dragonslayers who have been nearly wiped out by the Thalmor, an army of invading elves.
Delphine and the Dragonborn discover that Alduin, the king of the dragons, who used to terrorise humanity but was thought to be slain hundreds of years ago, has been resurrecting dead dragons and loosing them upon Skyrim. Initially they suspect the Thalmor of involvement, and this leads them to Esbern, another Blade living in the sewers of Riften.
The three dragon hunters travel to Sky Haven Temple, an ancient Blade fortress, where they find a wall with writing explaining that Alduin was crippled by a Shout named Dragonrend, created by humanity. The Ancient Dragon Paarthurnax, once one of Alduin’s generals but now his enemy, reveals that he was never killed: an Elder Scroll was used to send him into the future. The Dragonborn locates an Elder Scroll in the Dwemer ruin of Blackreach and uses it to travel back in time and learn the Dragonrend shout.
The Dragonborn fights Alduin atop High Hrothgar, and defeats him, but Alduin flees to Sovngarde, the place where legendary Nordic warriors go when they die.
To reach Skuldafn, where the portal to Sovngarde is located, the Dragonborn traps the dragon Ohdaviing inside Dragonsreach, Whiterun’s castle. Ohdaviing is impressed by the Dragonborn’s abilities, and agrees to fly him to the portal.
The Final Battle
The Dragonborn fights his way to the portal and enters Sovngarde. He meets the heroes who originally defeated Alduin in battle, and together they find and destroy Alduin once and for all. Dragons continue to exist, but they are no longer a serious threat, and Skyrim is saved.